How to communicate your strengths successfully

When you are trying to persuade an employer to offer you a job, you need to be really good at communicating your strengths.  Think of this as marketing yourself as a product by packaging up and presenting yourself in a way which will be attractive to your target market.

You are the same person with the same bundle of skills and attributes wherever you are, at work or outside work. So in thinking about skills, think about your whole life.

Start off by writing a list of times in your life to date when you feel you did something well or particularly enjoyed doing something (often this is because you were doing it well).  Include things like hobbies or voluntary work. Think about what skills these achievements show.  What have other people said you are good at?

One of the common mistakes people make is to simply tell an interviewer what they are good at.  “I’m a good leader…”  So what?  An interviewer seeing a procession of people needs something more persuasive.

For each skill you identify, think of an example of when you used the skill – and what the outcomes and benefits were that arose.  Use the formula:

“I did this with this result.”

For example:

“One of my strengths is negotiating contracts. At X company, I negotiated a new contract with our timber suppliers which made cost savings of £150,000 in the first year.” Or “I was the lead organiser for our PTA Christmas Fayre. We raised £500, £100 more than last year.”

It is too easy to take for granted what you are good at. We Scots are not known for blowing our own trumpet!  But if you simply describe what you did, your skills and strengths will speak for themselves….

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